"THERE MAY BE ENOUGH IRISH ABPS. TO HEAD OFF BENEDICT!": EXTRAORDINARY SIGNED AUTOGRAPH LETTER FROM HARPER LEE TO HER CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR, BRUCE HIGGISON, MENTIONING HITLER, THE HOLOCAUST, AND THE MODERN CATHOLIC CHURCH
LEE, Nelle Harper. Autograph letter signed. Monroeville, Alabama, April 17, 2009. Two unlined monogrammed cards, each measuring 5-1/4 by 7-1/2; pp. 3; original hand-addressed envelope. $3750.
Exceptional signed autograph letter, written entirely in Harper Lee's hand to her close friend and New York neighbor, Bruce Higgison, marvelling how quickly she received mail from him; expressing dismay over the younger generation forgetting Hitler; and pondering the future of the new Archbishop under Benedict.
The letter, written on monogrammed stationery cards and dated "17 April '09," reads: "My Own Bruce: You and the Lord move in mysterious ways!! I cannot believe such swift service, even via UPS, but yes indeed, the big envelope came before lunchtime—it was not delivered to me, but propped up near my table. I thought I recognized the envelope, & looked who it was for. YES, INDEED! The people here couldn't believe it, and wondered who the miracle worker was. I said a wonderful friend named Higgison. I was told that you probably sent it before UPS employees got to work, that you yourself walked it to a relay station… I just said that my friend's not a financier for nothing, that he will find a way come h & h. water. Everyone is still marveling—so am I! The new Abp. looks jolly enough, but I guess he will follow the Pope's orders. Maybe I'm prejudiced, but I don't think much of German shepherds. (You are too young—hell, you weren't even born!). I shall never forget how quickly the Germans forgave themselves after the war. In the history of the present generation Hitler never happened. At any rate, there may be enough Irish abps. to head off Benedict! I ramble. You are bored. I love you, Nelle." The recipient of this letter, Bruce Higgison, was Lee's Yorkville, New York neighbor. Originally born in Alabama, Higgison became one of Lee's closest friends. Higgison and Lee corresponded extensively during her visits back to Alabama. Bruce offered New York gossip and unconditional friendship. This letter may have been written after Lee moved to Alabama permanently and took up residence in a nursing home. Original postal markings on envelope.